Research at the university level is expected to be original and pioneering. In tandem with broadening technology and more diversified research fields, the likelihood of dealing with new technologies and of developing unknown new substances has grown. Actually, in academic laboratories, researchers conduct a broad spectrum of experiments, and handle many chemical regents in very complex ways at different places in the laboratory depending on the experiment purpose. However, even many of these researchers are unaware of the potential safety risks that are inherently inevitable. The Radio Frequency Identification system was employed to focus on the fluctuating characteristics of research activities and glean information from reagent checkout logs, chemical bottle traffic, and other similar data on chemical reagent behavior in an actual university laboratory. Such information was heretofore unobtainable by conventional chemical inventory system methods. Case studies were conducted to analyze experiment behavior in active university chemical laboratories, by monitoring experimenter behavior and chemical handling during experiments using fixed point observation technique. From this analysis,experimenter behaviors as well as the time duration in which experimenters handle chemicals for each operation are discussed from the perspective of deviation from the original protocol. The information obtained by observing experimenter behavior and chemical reagent usage in actual chemical laboratories is expected to raise the precision of discussion on the reasonable assessment and management of chemical risks in academic laboratories.
Chemical wastes of unknown composition are very dangerous because the content information is essential for selecting an appropriate handling method. Over 10,000 chemical wastes of unknown composition have been found in the Engineering Department of the University of Tokyo. To address this problem, the Safety and Health Office of the Engineering Department established a working group on chemical waste management in 2005. The working group found out the necessary information for waste treatment and established a safe, speedy,and effective analytical procedure for managing these unknown wastes. Most of the chemical wastes have now been analyzed by analytical instruments and technical staff and sent to Tokyo University’s Environmental Safety Center for disposal. The Safety and Health Office also provides safety training for new faculty members and students and warns against the production of unknown chemical wastes. Furthermore, accompanied by industrial doctors, the Office members visit each chemical laboratory at least once a year, providing chemical management advice when required. Newly found unknown chemical wastes have been successfully reduced by these activities and are expected to be eliminated in future.
The staff and students in the National University of Singapore (NUS) are exposed to various hazards arising from its research and/or teaching activities. To ensure these hazards are addressed, NUS has established a comprehensive safety and health management system (SHMS). As part of this system, Principal Investigators (PIs) & Laboratory Supervisors are required to establish a safety and health management system (SHMS) for areas under their charge.They are required to identify the safety and health risks prior to the start of their research and teaching activities, and to implement the necessary mitigation measures. Their SHMS are subjected to regular certification audits.As of 2015, over 600 PIs have been certified to the scheme. This paper details the drivers behind the scheme & processes and, roles of key stakeholders in implementing the scheme. It also describes the benefits and limitations of the scheme.
There are a variety of apparent and potential risks at universities and research institutions. Though extensive research has been done into health and safety issues associated with the execution of actual research activities, the risks involved in closing or relocating a laboratory have not been fully addressed. In this study, I focus on the potential risks involved in closing or relocating a laboratory and measures to reduce those risks. I argue that, in addition to the risks involved in ongoing research/experiments, researchers and administration staff should also pay careful attention to those involved in closing or relocating a laboratory, and that there are some risks that are specific to, or greater during, laboratory closing/relocating. I suggest that a laboratory closing/relocating taskforce should be set up to take a systematic and organized approach toward safe, efficient and regulatory-compliant laboratory closing/relocating. I also give an example of a set of policies, rules, procedures and forms for laboratory closing/relocating which should be prepared in advance.
Research regarding fire phenomenon had been rapidly developed as fire incident could occurs frequently. In order to assess the fire incident itself, a measuring test rig that could simultaneously measure heat release rate and smoke release from various fire phenomenon could be implemented. Fire safety engineering research group within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Universitas Indonesia has been allocated a new space for future laboratory development. Therefore it is necessary to design a compact test rig arrangement that capable for carrying measurement of various fire phenomena and for education purposes. In designing a Large-Scale Fire Calorimeter,we need to incorporate safety and security aspect. One of those aspects is generated smoke that could spread throughout the laboratory. To reduce the risk associated with smoke spread, we utilize a fan with specification fits the smoke production yielded during fire test. A ducting hood with dimension of 5 x 5 m also installed to collect smoke prior to the duct line. This research analysed the sensitivity of the flow field of smoke movement by suction power of fan during various fire load and observed its capability in controlling smoke from fire test by carrying series of fire simulation using Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) version 6.
Pictograms for lab safety can be a very important communication tool for preventing harm to foreign students and researchers who cannot understand the foreign language in their research labs. To be effective, pictograms should be understandable without learning the meaning, not only for foreign students, but also Japanese students or academic staff in universities.A preliminary survey was carried out to see how many Japanese students can understand the meaning of such pictograms. Twenty different symbols, which included some GHS1) symbols and other safety-related symbols in our daily life, were selected. The results of the survey for graduate students working in the materials science and engineering department indicated that, on average, the probability of understanding the meaning of the sign correctly was only 58%, and the probability of misunderstanding was 25%. Even a GHS sign which indicated "Health Hazard" was understood by just 17% students, and 54% of thestudents misunderstood it. These results suggest that it is necessary to teach the meaning of pictograms, and more easily understood signs should be designed for lab safety.
The laboratory environment can be a hazardous place to work. Laboratory workers are exposed to numerous potential hazards. One of the hazards is chemicals used in laboratory. It is important to have an appropriate method to assess chemical hazard risk in laboratory. We used Occupational Hazard Band (OHB) to assess health risks from chemical exposure. OHB considers exposure based on seven parameters which take into account the characteristics of the materials used, their emission potential, the conditions of use, duration and frequency. The final result will show us risk rating as blue, green, yellow or red. It was used to assess 10 chemical reagents used in waste laboratory. Information of the material characteristics was found in Safety Data Sheets (SDS), while material conditions of use and classic parameters were discovered by direct observation and laboratory workers interview. From 10 reagents assessed, we found 9 reagents usage have “Green” risk level which mean still in acceptable situation. While, we found 1 reagent usage that categorized as “Yellow”risk level. Thus, we suggest that the company has to monitor the situation carefully and establish a better control in order to reduce the health hazard risks arising from chemicals used.
In 2014, the Japanese government amended the Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA) in order to enhance chemical safety by making the assessment of 640 hazardous chemicals or chemical groups compulsory in all workplaces. The government also provided guidelines for chemical risk assessment in order to enhance compliance. However, guidelines provided by the government were conceptualized with regard to industrial workplaces, such as chemical factories, where a small number of chemicals are handled in large quantities. Research institutions, with small quantities of an extremely diverse array of chemical reagents present a very different challenge and require a different system for assessment. Here we propose a systematic chemical risk assessment system conceptualized for research institutions. It utilizes a computerized chemical management system, adopting information from the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals,and from Japanese regulations, with unique thresholds for physical and health hazards. This method allows researchers to easily and efficiently document and implement chemical risk assessment in compliance with the amended Industrial Safety and Health Act, and to concentrate on safety measures for hazardous chemicals that require special care.
In Nagoya University, safety management in each laboratories have been supported by using a comprehensive database, in which information that is necessary for risk control, such as local exhaust ventilation (LEV) facilities, stocks of chemicals and compressed gas cylinders, occupational health actions, and hazardous wastes, is installed together.Environment, Health & Safety Office (EH&SO) is responsible for whole legal and safety actions on all LEV facilities, such as registration on Labor Standard Bureau (LSB), check of annual inspection and maintenance, and performance of safety training.1) Since fume hoods have been used as the most common LEV facilities in the campus, the training course carried out by EH&SO consists of the followings: (1) basic course for daily check and maintenance of fume hoods in the laboratory by end users, (2) official training for licensed inspectors of fume foods.
Chemical substances pose various health and environmental hazards, and must be handled safely. To that end, we must collect sufficient information about the chemical substances and conduct proper storage, handling, and disposal procedures based on appropriate management, in addition to following public laws and local rules. At the University of Tokyo (UTokyo), chemical substances management is handled by three systems. The first one is an online purchasing system for commercial chemical substance products. The second one is an online chemical registration system for laboratory chemical inventories. The third one is a disposal system for chemically hazardous waste tracking the status of the waste throughout the disposal process. In addition, all university personnel who handle chemical substances may attend an environment and safety course; those who are involved in the disposal of chemically hazardous waste are required to take and pass the course. We believe this is an ideal way to consolidate chemical substances handling via the internal network from initial storage to disposal while focusing on individual usage, education, and the working environment.
We collected and analyzed reports of accidents over a four-year period at a Japanese university. Focusing on accidents resulting from contact with chemical substances among accidents in academic research, we found that accident victims were more likely to be in biology,physics, or other non-chemistry fields relative to chemistry-related fields, and that the number of accident reports tended to increase among those with more research experience. In addition, of the accidents involving the handling of chemical substances, 58.2% of the total cases resulting in accidents involved the use of chemical substances as tools in the experimental process, rather than being the actual subject of the research. These results show that today’s advanced research is closely related to the use of chemical substances as tools,underscoring a need for the understanding of the hazardous properties of chemical substances through basic education about chemical substances and ongoing accident prevention efforts in academic research. The use of chemical substances as tools in experimental research was found to be closely related to a decline in risk perception, and investigation of this mechanism should contribute to future safety education efforts.
A designed checklist was personally administrated to investigate the laboratory safety facilities and safe work practices in chemistry laboratories (n = 68) of a university in the Kingdom Saudi Arabia. Overall mean percentile for practices in the checklist which were adopted was found to be 45% for all eleven safety elements surveyed, namely general work environment (75%); personal protective equipment (61%); emergency planning, equipment (55%); chemical storage & chemical labeling (50%); emergency planning (46%);fume hood and chemical handling (45%); waste and hazardous waste management (43%); safety training/awareness (43%); electrical safety (38%); lab safety documents (18%) and compressed gas (18%). However, special areas of concern, such as laboratory posting,inspection and proper use of a fume hood, availability of chemical waste containers, updating chemical inventory, availability of SDS,availability of the spill kit, segregation of chemicals by hazards class and safety training were studied. Existing areas with poor performance should be addressed with the involvement of top management, laboratory safety training programs and strict monitoring with continuous evaluation.